Biography of Ivan Chermayeff
Ivan Chermayeff was a New-York based graphic designer and one of the most admired of a generation who radically redefined the profession. He is renowned for setting up the firm Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv alongside Tom Geismar and Sagi Haviv and for his work creating and collaborating on some of the most recognizable logos in corporate America. These included the American airways company PanAm, the oil company Mobil and logos for the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Smithsonian Institution.
Born in London in 1932, Ivan Chermayeff attended Harvard University, the Institute of Design in Chicago and Yale University where he first met Tom Geismar. He then apprenticed at a studio and designed record covers for CBS before setting up his own practice. Alongside Geismar, and later Haviv (who would join the duo in 2006), he designed over 100 well-known corporate logos and posters, even working on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Ivan Chermayeff’s practice was centered around notions of free association and he would often create his best work in the back of taxis after meeting with clients. His design firm also created large-scale public works including the giant red 9 figure that stands on the pavement on West 57th Street New York and acts as a sign for the building as well as an impressive piece of public art.
Ivan Chermayeff never retired from his craft, working for over sixty years until his death in 2017. He was awarded the Gold Medal from the American Institute of Graphic Arts in 1978
and the President’s Fellow Award from the Rhode Island School of Design. His work has been displayed at a number of institutions around the world, including the De La Warr pavilion in Bexhill which his architect father, Serge Chermayeff, designed.